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For Asia’s first GM Torre, chess never stops

Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Karpov and friends

CHESS never stops for Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre.

Torre, who made history by achieving his grandmaster title at the age of 22 dPhotosuring the 1974 World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France is now the coach-adviser to most of the country’s young and aspiring players who want to follow his footsteps someday.

And Torre, now 69, is happily embracing his new role.

“Hindi naman natin maitatago ang edad natin. Pwede nyo i-Google yan anytime. But I can still do a lot in chess, like sharing my knowledge and experiences to young players,” said Torre during the 13th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom recently.

“Tuloy-tuloy lang ang chess, kahit nga ngayong may pandemic,” added Torre, who will turn 69 on Nov. 4.

A Hall of Fame awardee, Torre also revealed his plans to write a book about his long and colorful career which spans more than five decades now.

“Writing a book is really part of my plans right now. Hopefully, pag-dating ko ng 70 years old next year, meron na,” said Torre during the weekly public service program sponsored by the  Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

“Actually, I’ve already asked some of my long-time chess friends to help me. Yun mga senior na din gaya ko. Yun mga nakasama ko dati, gaya nina Ignacio Dee, Bobby Ang at Ely Tumbaga.”
“Of course, the book will carry most of my memorable games, especially in the Olympiad. My 22 Olympiad appearances remains a record until now,” said Torre.

Asked about the online seminars/workshops he is now conducting to help young players hone their skills, Torre said he is very active now with the help of GM Jayson Gonzales.

“GM Jayson is very helpful, lalo na pag online. We’re both certified FIDE instructors now. Nauna lang ako sa kanya.”

Torre and Gonzales also served as lead instructors for the FIDE Trainers Online Seminar organized by the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence (PACE) In cooperation with the Asian Chess Federation (ACF) last Sept. 25-27.

On how he keeps himself physically and mentally fit despite his advanced age, Torre said regular exercises are very important.

“I used to play tennis a lot during my younger days. I worked out a lot in the gyms. And even now with this pandemic, I walk a lot to stay in shape. Luckily, we have a very safe subdivision in Quezon City where I can walk around,” Torre.

Asked about the soon-to-be launched Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP), Torre said the tournament will benefit a lot of players who want to play the game and earn a living for their families.

“This is a brilliant move by the PCAP. The players will surely benefit from playing in this pro league, like in the Bundesliga in Germany and even the one in China. If they are playing for something on a regular basis, mas lalong gagaling ang mga players natin,” said Torre.

“But of course, we need everybody to contribute and help in this endeavor, like the NCFP, headed by our hard-working chairman Rep. Butch Pichay, secretary-general Bambol Tolentino and executive director Cliburn Orbe. Also the PSC and POC. Even the players, kailangan magtulong-tulong. Parang chess lang ito na lahat ng mga piyesa, pati piyon, ay may role sa laro para manalo tayo,” he added.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Ed Andaya
Sports Editor - People's Tonight